back to article Congress still afraid to define 'internet gambling'

The intellectual haze that envelopes American internet gambling policy thickened the past week, as lawmakers failed to define what exactly constitutes "unlawful" internet gambling. As absurd as it sounds, two years after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), Congress still can’t make up its …


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  1. Andy Tunnah


    i read el reg every day and barely a day goes by where i read a story and there's some random comment about some sort of conspiracy theory behind the post. And 99% of the time i scoff at it and think "get a life"

    but my god does this whole thing sound shifty; the US passes this law which basically cripples the internet gambling business, while boosting the flagging real life gambling industry, and now they're dragging their feet on defining it..

    ...i'll leave the coat, i know one of you bugged it :p

  2. peter


    Apart form the link between shares, perhaps more so futures and geared betting.

    Many of these sites offer bets on the third decimal point of an index in the next 10 seconds and other variants, blurring the line between investing and betting.

    Even more so some spread betting sites operate internal markets where information is imported but no trades made by the users go out into the world, also bullion vaults who offer gold pricing use the same method. Sometimes trading is further divorced and more like betting when time delays and lock outs are imposed during opening and closing volatility.

    Are these any different to roulette and a random number generator operated by a gaming site?

  3. Stuart Van Onselen

    When a poitician shakes your hand...

    ...count your fingers afterwards.

    There's *always* a conspiracy about. The main purpose of every congress/parliament/whatever is to fleece the voters, and since the best schemes inevitably require the co-operation of multiple senators/congressmen/MPs, you have, by definition, a conspiracy.

  4. Hugh_Pym
    Paris Hilton

    The problem with democracy...

    ...s that the leaders are never around long enough to sort out the results of their f**k ups. Of course GW and his cronies will have taken the money and run (metaphorically or otherwise) before this problem finally has to be fixed and the cost of it falls on the US taxpayer.

    Personally, I can't wait to find out what really happened when the truth comes out in 20 or 30 years.

    Paris, cause she knows dirty tricks when she sees them.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EU Commission not acting in Europe interest

    The USA walked all over them on this internet gambling thing and they did nothing. They arrested our company directors for providing legitimate gambling websites and they did nothing. They took no trade sanction against them, they did NOTHING at all to protect EU interests.

    Now they're signing a blanket information exchange

    "The Bush administration and the European Commission have not publicized their talks, but they referred to their progress in a little-noticed paragraph deep in a joint statement after a summit meeting between President Bush and European leaders in Slovenia this month."

    Yep, consult with Bush, but not with EU citzens, you treasonous ******* Barroso.

    Apparently they've agreed 12 major articles I'd love to give you a link to discuss them, but they're kept secret from us.

    "European law sets up independent government agencies to police whether personal data is being used lawfully and to help citizens who are concerned about any invasions of their privacy. The United States has no such independent agency. But in a concession, the Europeans have agreed that the American government's internal oversight system may be good enough to provide accountability for how Europeans' data are being used."

    I'd be calling for the idiot to be voted out of office but he was never voted into office, so that's not possible. This last EU commission has been one of the worst. Even I wouldn't vote for the Lisbon agreement if I was allowed to vote on it. An EU Commission with power but no democratic accountability to Europe would be a dictatorship.

  6. Chris Boyle

    Definition of Internet gambling

    Attempting to obtain a reliable broadband connection in the UK.

    Mine's the one with the 3G USB device in the pocket.

  7. Nick Kew

    We all know the real definition ...

    ... if foreigners are in charge, it's illegal.

    Oh, and to the rant above: the present Commission is what we have *without* the Lisbon agreement. Guess that must be what you want? Me, I'd prefer to see the commission replaced by an executive appointed by and accountable to the democratically elected parliament (whose track record compares rather favourably to other parliaments).

  8. Wize
    Dead Vulture

    I'll never understand the logic of a country...

    ...that sticks an internet gambling law on the back of a law covering terrorism in a port. The two are unrelated.

    The bird icon as my brain is dribbling out my ears trying to understand it.

  9. Lukin Brewer


    From the annals of Judge Dredd...

    Chief Judge Cal: Mega-citizens, today I am passing a new law. Judge Fish will announce it.

    Deputy Chief Judge Fish, Cal's pet goldfish: Bloop!

    Chief Judge Cal: You heard the law! The penalty is death!

    Random citizens: -W-what does it mean? -I don't know.


    Make a law with nebulous or nonexistent boundaries, but strict penalties for infringement and you will make people very wary about testing the boundaries. Refuse to define the boundaries except by penalisation and you can play the fear out for years. Works for UIGEA, most anti-porn legislation, broadband fair use policies, etc etc

  10. PT

    State Lotteries

    That's the problem, in two words. How to allow government-run state lotteries to continue to use the Internet while shutting out all the rest. Any effort to draft a proper definition would attract hoards of lobbyists and flesh-eating lawyers anxious to tear strips off these lucrative cash cows, and the necessary compromises would result in the law failing to regulate anything.

    Of course, since state lotteries typically pay back around 50%, they're not really gambling at all. Even the Mafia weren't that greedy - the numbers game paid off 66%. If they could just come up with a new definition for lotteries - "racket" comes to mind - it could all be settled in a few days.

  11. Abdul Koroma

    Just legalize It NOW!!

    Congress ambivalent on this issues just shows that it's time to accpet the reality and legalize internet gambling in all its forms as an analyst pointed out in this article: Online Gambling: Just Legalize It Already(

  12. Chris C

    re: State Lotteries

    You beat me to the point of state lotteries, though for a different reason. My home state (Massachusetts) has a strict "No gambling" law... except for the state lotteries and Keno. It's always good to see protectionist, monopolistic, and hypocritical thinking on the state level as well as the federal level.

    As for the WTO... The WTO sided with Antigua and ruled that the US illegally prevented US citizens from gambling at Antigua's gaming businesses. The US' response was to literally do nothing except snub its nose and say "So what! What are you going to do about it?". The WTO did nothing.

    Then there was, which by all accounts was operating perfectly legally according to Russian law (whether by legal loophole or not, it was still considered legal by the Russian authorities). But because the RIAA didn't like it, the US government threatened Russia saying that if was not taken offline, the US would block Russia's entrance into the WTO. And the WTO did nothing.

    The WTO is just as powerless as the UN when going up against the US government, which is just more proof that the US is "the greatest superpower in the world". Sadly, that power, which could be used for good, is used as a form of control instead. The US Civil War was fought to abolish slavery. Now the government is using more subtle indirect methods to return to slavery, and too many people seem to be all-too-willing to accept their shackles. For those who will deny that -- when your freedom is taken away (freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom to speak your mind, freedom to assemble, freedom of religion, etc), you are a slave. The fact that you can walk to the store without asking permission doesn't change that.

  13. Jeffrey Nonken

    @When a poitician shakes your hand...

    ... count your fingers, then your limbs, then your relatives.

  14. amanfromMars Silver badge

    A nation failed by its leaders.........?

    "In the 1990s the city turned to tourism as a solution to its ailing economy, constructing two new sports stadiums and granting licences for the building of three casinos - the MGM, MotorCity and Greektown - that in 2007 together generated more than $1 billion in revenue, and which at least had the effect of bringing police patrols into the area, ensuring that daylight robbery only occurred inside." ....

    Whenever you have nothing to offer, you start to offer nothing but capital dreams/intellectual vapourware and try to keep it exclusive?

    Uncomfortable questions dodged/avoided thus further contributing towards terminal decline?

  15. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Between a rock and a hard place .......

    "Ironically, the law had an even greater impact than its drafters had probably hoped for, even though it has never properly gone into effect. The regulations were supposed to have been drafted over a year ago, but the mere passage of the law wiped billions off the market value of internet companies. Throw in a couple of arrests of prominent European gambling executives on other gambling charges, and the market was in chaos."

    Which is probably exactly what was intended, with the action being solely protectionist of existing money laundering ventures/alternate underground cash economies.

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